Originally Posted by MKtheater
I would say trying MMG's for a cost of $50 for a return is a good way to start. No wasted time and energy and a good starting place.
Obviously demo'ing speakers in home is the right approach in many (most?) cases. I'd probably be willing to do that with locally-bought speakers if I could find the ones I really want to try. However, ordering and having to worry about returning is sometimes problematic for me. My days, during normal business hours, are completely swamped and it's pretty tough to get to a shipper. I'd worry I'd get stuck with a set that I don't really care for. Unfortunately, my business-hours schedule really is that busy much of the time. Therefore, this approach probably doesn't suite me right now. I'd rather "waste" building a pair for $200 than go through the effort to return.
Originally Posted by antisuck
I also wouldn't discount high-efficiency speakers for classical music, even at moderate volumes - someone who enjoys large scale orchestral music may appreciate the uncompressed dynamics of a larger and more efficient system.
The more basic problem is one of risk management, as has been hinted at above. Unless one has been in a position to audition a wide variety of speakers (preferably beyond the usual big box brands), it's impossible to even begin to guess what certain types of speakers sound like - and even with boatloads of experience one can never be sure. That's the existential problem of starting in on DIY - UNLESS you also enjoy the process, the learning and building and discovery.
So if that last bit doesn't describe you, by all means buy something you can return OR build something easy and inexpensive (low risk) OR find a way to listen to a wide variety of speakers understanding it may be a long haul and there will always be some risk involved.
Help me with the first statement - why would the efficiency of a speaker (and what is that exactly) affect the suitability for classical music? Or did I misunderstand you?
Risk? I'm all up for risk. I do ww'ing, although sporadically. I can afford to waste some $'s learning the DIY speaker way if it means I get what I want in the end. At this point, I feel building a "starter" set is really no-risk except for time and money. Not worried about the money. Gotta find the time.
As to the other 4 or 5 that provided specific build suggestions - a question about some of those. I remember seeing an online video review (yes, I know, "they can't put something on the internet unless it's true") of the KEF Q900 speakers where they were praised, but the reviewer mentioned (right or wrong) that the best didn't come out until the volume was fairly high. As I've mentioned, I'd prefer a speaker where this wasn't the case, if that's not a standard characteristic of speakers. I am all about moderate volume. Being in the "prime" of life, one thinks about all the years of loud music, and thoughts turn to protection of hearing.
I do listen to other types of music than classical, but that's where I get my real enjoyment. I do want some HT functionality mixed in there though.
I think I mentioned in another post above that I may get another AVR to replace the Pioneer (it's a few years old) or go with separates. However, I'm not looking at massive amps. Something like the Outlaw 7125 or even the Marantz M7055 would suit me fine I think.
Some of the input has gotten me thinking about building the rears first. Start off small. But choose rears that having very nice matching fronts and center. Any opinions here?
I am still digesting all the info given above. Lots of learning and material to go through. What fun!